For the Love of Jacob
Day One When Jacob Saw Rachel
Last week we ended with Esau wanting to kill Jacob. This week we lighten up with Jacob falling for Rachel. Today's Scripture focus Genesis 29:1-14. Read this segment and write down any elements you find particularly interesting or out of the ordinary. Genesis 28:10-22 tells us of Jacob embarking on a pilgrimage of sorts and facing a new life--how would this experience affect your journey? As Jacob approaches the well Jacob's questions to the shepherds seem more like an interrogation than an interview. He obviously couldn't resist telling them how to do their jobs (can anyone relate?). When he told them to "water the sheep and take them back to pasture," the shepherds explained that they couldn't until all the flocks were gathered. The stone at the mouth of the well was obviously very heavy and they needed more manpower. This is where the story gets interesting. Even humorous. Review verses 9 & 10 and fill in the blanks.
*While he was still talking with them, Rachel came with her father's sheep, for she was a shepherdess. When Jacob _________ Rachel daughter of Laban, his mother's brother, and Laban's sheep, he went over and _________ the _____ away from the mouth of the well and watered his uncle's sheep."
I have read this many times but until today I was struck with the thought that Jacob (a man in love) had the strength of 10 men (smile)! I like Beth's simile, "Rachel to Jacob was like an opened can of spinach to Popeye (more smiling). Ah, yes, Jacob was smitten indeed. He will soon discover, however, that the cost of love is sometimes high when tallied on an in-law's ledger.
Day Two An unexpected Bride
In today's lesson imagine that the music from "As the World Turns" is playing in the background. Jacob is going to end up with several wives and eventually four (!) mothers for his children. We'll discover today that Jacob received an unwanted push, but he made the decisions.
As we study please note that we do not support polygamy but it is stated as fact in these scriptures. In studying God's Word, be careful NOT to confuse a statement of fact with divine support. God's plan for marriage was and is one man and one woman (See Gen. 2:24, Matt. 19:4-6, Eph. 5:31). Remember that in Jacob's world commonly practiced polygamy and viewed multiple wives as the means to many children.
Please read Genesis 29:14-30. Identify and describe both characters that follow on the information given in this text. You might even describe what you are think they were like, creating a character of sorts.
What excuse did Laban offer for deceiving Jacob (v. 26)?
In all, how many years did Jacob work for Laban to win Rachel?
We miss a crucial point, however, if we paint Jacob as entirely the victim. In Laban Jacob has met his match! Yes, Jacob had a n encounter with God in Genesis 28, but God makes sure that Jacob reaps some of what he has sown.
Suspect an ulterior motive in everything Laban offers. See v. 15. As soon as business is concluded we are introduced to the other daughter. Leah is compared to her sister, Rachel, but not in a favorable manner. Rachel outshone Leah. She seemed to have that "certain twinkle" in her eye and maybe a "saucy step." We'll try to give Jacob a break for he obviously fell in love with Rachel at first sight having never seen Leah. Speaking of Leah, imagine Jacob's surprise when she was the last face he expected to see the morning after! Many have reasoned that the customary wedding veil-aided by the darkness-kept Jacob from seeing his bride. When the confetti was gone and the chalice was dry, the deceiver had been deceived.
Food for thought: could Laban have done Leah a greater disservice in his attempt to honor custom? After seven more years of promised labor, Laban allowed Jacob to wed Rachel.
Day Three Winning Love
Search Genesis 29:31-30:24 carefully record the following:
* The name of each child born to Jacob in birth order (12!)
*The birth mother's name
*Any coinciding statement regarding mother's feelings or the child's name
*Not every birth received a coinciding statement when one exists, specify who made it.
Look in Genesis 29:31-35. Based on statements Leah made as she named her first four sons, explain the mindset by describing the process of emotions she experienced.
Leah WAS desperate for Jacob's love. Until I married, I didn't realize the importance of this statement. A wife needs and wants to be loved by her husband. So, Leah became obsessed with having Jacob's children. Oh, be careful! For haven't some of us tried to manipulate just as Leah did to get someone to love us? How about you? Can you relate?
Day Four Speckled Blessings
"In this way the man grew exceedingly prosperous and came to own large flocks, and maidservants and manservants, and camels and donkeys." Genesis 30:43
Read Genesis 30:25-43 and complete the following:
Why do you think Jacob was suddenly ready to go back to his homeland?
One of my son's favorite games is "Deal or No Deal." This is what I see Laban and Jacob playing as Jacob longs to return home. He wants to be released and take ALL that belongs to him. I do feel for Jacob in this opening scene for we all just want a person to be reasonable. The problem isn't that unreasonable don't understand. They won't understand. I do believe that this is where God intervenes. He steps in and makes it right. God blessed the flocks of Jacob more than Laban because He was faithful to His promises. The method God chose and revealed ingeniously to Jacob meant the bleating of spotted sheep and goats would follow Jacob and his family all the way home. As for the branches? Mere accessories. Save your trees and bow down to a sovereign God.
Day Five Fleeing from Uncle
Today's lesson is all 55 verses of Genesis 31, but it's a great read!
In your own words what did God tell Jacob in Genesis 31:1-21?
What did Rachel steal from Laban?
Nothing like a little extra baggage in what was already a complicated mess! In all likelihood she probably stole the idols for the protection these "gods" were believed to bring. In verse 20 the Hebrew phrase "Jacob deceived Laban" literally translates "Jacob stole Laban's heart." Rachel, on the other hand, stole Laban's gods. Let's not be like Rachel. Let's walk in truth, especially during the worst week-and the most convenient excuse of the month. After Laban searched for the household gods to no avail, Jacob became furious and "took Laban to task" (v. 36). The words poured forth from his mouth like a dam breaking under pressure of raging waters. At the end of his tirade, Jacob called God an interesting name in connection with Isaac. What is it (v.42)?
Jacob and Laban seem to offer us a prime example of restoration in terms of forgiveness and goodwill-but not togetherness. "Sometimes God restores two people to one another on the basis of the cross. Other times He restores them to Himself but stands between them as a witness for their protection and accountability."
I hope you enjoyed this lesson as much as I did.
Let's walk in truth this week!
See you next Tuesday In the Parlor as Mary brings us Lesson 7!